London’s Afropunk princess, Hey, Baby, explodes back onto the scene with the staggering video for their debut single, ‘Theatre!’. Directed by Kassandra Powell (Bimini, Girli, Tayce), with creative direction from Dale K, the ‘Theatre!’ clip erupts into an unmistakable call to arms, with Hey, Baby at the centre, owning their narrative in a delicious delirium of black, red and gold.
“I make music as a way of immortalising the queer, black experience.” The 26 year old non-binary artist, known affectionately as Baby, launched their incredible single ‘Theatre!’ in 2022. A fierce declaration of what’s to come and “an ode to queer rage”, ‘Theatre!’ explores “giving yourself permission not to be okay” through mental health struggles. Revealing the ‘Theatre!’ clip today, Hey, Baby oozes punk anarchy and hyperpop sensibilities with tenacity and raucous abandonment. Inspired by late nights at queer clubs, the sonic textures, drum patterns and the sweet sweat of strangers, paired with an exploration of where Black and alternative cultures meet, Baby is at the forefront of the alt Black scene right now.
Speaking of the video, Hey, Baby says: “This is me owning the darker parts of myself. I wanted to lean into the messiness of what anxiety feels like and create a visual that represents the internal battles I’ve been through.”
As a contestant on Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK, Baby gained a dedicated fanbase, including the support of their idol FKA Twigs, and they featured in the music videos for Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ GRAMMY-Award-winning smash hit, ‘Unholy’, and Charli XCX’s ‘Hot In It’ last year. One of the most exciting new artists, Baby embodies a hugely underrepresented subsection of society; a black, queer, non-binary artist, with a huge voice and a wealth of talent. Born and raised in North London, Baby spent the majority of their childhood surrounded by their very large Jamaican family. Baby’s dad was a reggae/soul DJ so the sounds of dancehall, disco and 90s r&b were a prominent part of their everyday life from an early age. Baby soon fell in love with r&b, UK garage and dance pop, rinsing the sounds of TLC, Craig David and Kylie Minogue. Starting to train in performing arts from the age of 10, Baby went on to study musical theatre in London in their teen years and then a songwriting degree in Brighton, where they first started performing in drag, discovering an undeniable gift for the craft, catching people’s attention instantly.
Baby’s influences traverse the distinctive sonic palette of SOPHIE, the in-your-face energy of The Prodigy and the queer-influenced, hip-hop genius of Tyler, The Creator, but Baby sites the vastness of FKA Twigs’ influence as having a particularly moving impact on them. When FKA Twigs watched Baby rap and perform on Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK, she said “I thought you were incredible tonight, such a natural performer, completely magnetic”. To Baby, FKA Twigs represents the beauty and bravery behind being the “altsy black girl”. Late nights at queer clubs, taking voicenotes of euphoric moments, the textures, sweet sweat and drum patterns, paired with an exploration of where Black and alternative cultures meet, are prominent in Baby’s sonics.
‘Theatre!’ is Baby claiming their space, ready for everything to come and standing tall. The powerful artwork for ‘Theatre!’ presents Baby smiling through the pain of mental health struggles in a bold and theatrical statement of defiance. Hey, Baby is an artist of deep substance, a clear and important voice forging their own path, and this is only the beginning.